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The incidence of type 1 diabetes in Canterbury for the last 50 years (1970 – 2019)

A 2019/2020 Summer Studentship research project

This project will allow us to document incidence trends over the last 50 years in Canterbury. This will help us predict future impact on clinical provision, as well as explore and demographic changes over time.

Student: Caitlyn Cunningham-Tisdall
Supervisors: Dr Martin de Bock, Dr Craig Jefferies
Sponsor: New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes


Canterbury has one of the highest global incidences of type 1 diabetes. Longitudinal data has been collected since 1970, and shown a year on year increase, and is one of the longest incidence registries in existence. Incidence trends are important to predict future clinical need, and also population trends based on age of diagnosis and other demographic features.

Auckland DHB has incidence data for the last 30 years, and secular comparison has not been performed to date.


  • To determine the incidence of Paediatric type 1 diabetes (aged 0 – 15 years) in Canterbury from 1970 to 2019
  • To compare incidence trends with Auckland
  • To explore any demographic changes during the last 50 years


We will extract incidence from the diabetes patient management system from 1970. Using census data, this denominator will be used to calculate the incidence. Further, demographic characteristics including urban/rural, age, gender, and BMI will be examined for trends.

Finally, a similar project will be conducted in Auckland, and a comparison will be made as part of this project.

Student researcher’s component of the study

  • Extract indicidence data from the database
  • Establish the denominator from census data
  • Profile new incidence patients by urban/rural living, age, gender, and BMI.

Statistical analyses will be performed to examine these demographic factors, and if there have been trends over the last 50 years.

Student prerequisites

Medical student, statistics would be useful.

How to apply